Just the other day, I received this “Emergency Flip Chart” in my campus mail– I assume everyone else did too– courtesy of EMU’s Department of Public Safety. If you somehow didn’t receive this colorful and well done flip chart (my cell phone picture does not do it proper justice), you can see the full content on this less well done web site.
My first reaction (well, this was one I should say that was prompted by one of my colleagues too) was that this is the classic institutional “Cover Your Ass” document. The next time someone tries to sue EMU for distress caused by being trapped in an elevator, my guess is that EMU’s initial response will be “Well, did you follow the instructions for elevator emergencies published in the flip chart? No? We don’t think you have a claim here, my friend.” Or worse yet if there is a shooter loose on campus: no one can argue that EMU was unprepared because there’s a flip chart.
My second reaction was I am unlikely to have my flip chart handy when responding to an explosion or or a hazardous chemical spill. A close third reaction was that much of the writing here is hilarious in a sort of black humor sorta way. It’s not on the web site, but the instructions on the flip chart itself for what to do about being trapped in an explosion include something about waving around a flashlight so rescuers can see you. Great. I keep my office flashlight next to my safety flip chart!
And here’s another darkly funny set of instructions about what to do if someone calls in a bomb threat, and I swear I am not making any of this up– this is on the web site:
If a telephone bomb threat is received, remain calm and note the information the caller provides.
If possible, questions to ask:
When is the bomb to explode?
Where is the bomb located?
What kind of bomb is it?
What does it look like?
Why was the bomb placed?
What will cause the bomb to explode?
What is your name and address?
__ Calm __ Laughing __ Lisp __Disgust
__Angry __ Crying __Raspy __Accent
__Excited __Normal __ Deep __Familiar
__Slow __Distinct __Ragged
__Rapid __Slurred __Clearing throat
__Soft Nasal __Deep breathing
__Loud __Stutter __Cracking voice
If voice familiar, who did it sound like? _________________
Street Noises __House Noises __Factory Machinery __Local
___Long Distance __Motor __Animal Noises__ Crockery
Voices __Office __ Clear __Booth
Other (if any other please list)_____________________________________________
___Well spoken (well educated) ___Foul ____Incoherent
__Irrational __ Taped
Time received:___________ Date:_____________
Person received threat:_______________________ Position/title:_______________________
My fourth reaction was how much did this cost? Seriously, how much? I understand there is a need to get this information out there– well, I sort of understand it– but this had to cost a couple grand to produce. Is that necessary, really?
And finally, I am of the opinion that no safety guide could possible be complete without information on what to do in response to Zombie attacks.